Is this really diverticula disease?

Posted , 3 users are following.

I am beginning to wonder! Way back in 2006 I had an annoying pain in the left lower quadrant. No other symptom but it did sometimes spread across the lower pelvis. Six months later I was diagnosed with lymphoma in the mesentery and was treated for that. There seemed to be no connection with the pain in LLQ.

Two years ago, I had a similar pain and had extensive tests ans scans which resulted in a few other diagnoses and a finding of diverticular in the LLQ. After some months, the pain just went away. I never adjusted my diet.

A week ago, the pain returned but somewhat worse than the previous occasions. It can radiate to my back and pelvis and down my left leg, but is still mainly in my LLQ and is particularly bad when I am sitting down. I sleep very well probably because the area is resting and I am not moving around and 'disturbing' it! I have started a soft diet which makes me more constipated which is not a good thing! Otherwise I have no other symptoms.

Can anyone identify with this, please?

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  • Posted

    Hi Alison

    You have already been told you have diverticula in your sigmoid colon and the pain is certainly consistent with attacks of diverticulitis, which is when the diverticula become inflamed or infected. If you are not having fever, chills, nausea, swamping cramps, they are probably just inflamed. Medication is not necessary for inflammation but usually is for infection. The actual location of the diverticula may be why you are having pain on sitting - from pressure internally in the seated position. Some people feel pain when bending or lifting for this reason as well. The usual advice is liquids only for the first couple of days, then a low fibre diet, slowly introducing SOLUBLE fibre back into your diet. You do need to look at your diet long term.

    Most of us kept a food diary to find out what aggravates our condition. We also experiment to find out what level and type of fibre is right for us. I was also prescribed psyllium husk which I have taken daily for 18 years. It is a natural ingredient which bulks and softens the stools and makes them easier to pass. You can get Fybogel (Metamucil in USA) over the counter, or on the Internet. As I am 69 I don't have to pay any more! I have managed for 18 years with the daily Fybogel, a gluten free and low fat diet. I get most of my fibre from fruit and vegetables, mostly in the form of purees and home made soup.

    Of course if the pain worsens, other symptoms develop, or you are otherwise concerned, you should see your doctor.

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    • Posted

      Dear Felinia,

      Thank you so much for your helpful advice. I guess I have been in denial! And because I have had no symptoms, not been careful at all with my diet. I really appreciate the information you have provided and will adapt my eating habits accordingly.

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    • Posted

      After my initial attack I was symptom free for 6 years, then after attack 2 I was clear for 4 years. It is with you for life and you will always have to watch it. But it becomes a way of life and you just get on with it.

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    • Posted

      I must keep that in mind! When so much time passes and you have no symptoms, it is hard to remember you should keep away from certain foods. I cannot take the Fybogel while I am on the low fibre diet so I am trying to drink more water to relieve the constipation. I am also trying not to take paracetomol as that might aggravate the constipation. It does not do much to relieve the pain anyway.

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    • Posted

      I was advised not to take NSAID's as a pain killer (ie aspirin, Ibuprofen) as they actually irritate the intestines. But I take Fybogel every day regardless, although I know some people stop during an attack. But then I have a tendency to the runs, rather than constipation.

      When I think back to my childhood and early adulthood, I realise people, not even my parents, ever talked about bodily functions. I learned the facts of life at school. Nowadays everybody is much more open and willing to share experiences. Knowing you are not alone and others have exactly the same issues, is so much more helpful and reassuring.

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    • Posted

      I was surprised when I called my doctor the other day and she said I could take ibuprofen short term for the pain. I didn't take it. I agree that families often did not discuss these issues 'back in the day'! I find that forums such as these are so helpful because you are getting information from people who have actually experienced what you are experiencing.

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    • Posted

      I do try to be helpful, but am mindful that I am not a medical person so try to relate to my own experience and say "when in doubt see the doctor". I currently have a totally different issue and am seeing my GP, as I simply don't know enough about it. Once I get a definitive diagnosis, then I can use this forum for information, but until then, it's just guesswork, and the Internet is notorious for scaring the living daylights out of you, by giving the worst case scenario!

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    • Posted

      That is true. I hope you get your current issue sorted soon! I do find with diverticulitis in the UK, there is quite a laid back attitude from doctors, or may be that is just my experience. On this occasion, when I spoke to my doctor, I was the one who suggested a liquid diet!

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  • Posted

    Hi Alison,

    I really can't add much more than Felinia has said. This is very good advice and I have found that, for me, soluble fibre works well, too. I have actually been free of pain for almost 9 months since increasing my soluble fibre and limiting insoluble and up to then had experience almost daily abdominal cramping that also kept me awake at night. If I feel that a flare could be starting I go on liquids for 24 hours and gradually add some bland foods ie mashed potato, yoghurt for a short while until I feel that the "danger" has passed.

    DD is very much a disease that will take a while to adapt your diet to find the right foods that keep you free of symptoms. What suits one doesn't always suit another but increasing soluble fibre and limiting insoluble was really the turning point for me.

    I have been a vegetarian almost all my life..at least 62 years! I have NEVER suffered from constipation so am bewildered as to why I have "severe diverticular disease".

    I agree that in the UK the medical profession don't really offer much support. My consultant was downright rude and dismissed me saying it was only diverticular disease. I actually felt as though I was ruining his day by being his patient and wanting to ask questions. Those who do not suffer have no idea how life changing this disease can be. Through this forum I have felt supported and certainly not alone.

    One thing I will say...be sure that these pains you have are not ovarian in origin or a hernia, for example. Diverticulitis can mimic ovarian cysts and bladder infections and vice versa.

    I hope you feel better soon.

    X

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your advice! As I had extensive scans, ultrasounds and sigmoidoscopy a year and a half ago, which all came up negative apart from diverticular disease, I THINK this is my DD again. However, I will be keeping an eye and my doctor has told me to call again if it gets worse or does not go away. It is more of an inflammatory pain than cramping, with either a dull ache in the whole area and/or twinges in the LLQ. One thing that is great for me is that I sleep well with no pain at all. Sitting and bending make it worse. I am trying to keep away from painkillers.

      I am now on a low fibre diet with very soft foods and really need to go liquid for a day or two. I get so hungry though! I know I have to do what I have to do! I will also look into the difference between soluble and insoluble foods. I am so used to eating anything, it is quite a learning curve!

      Many thanks again! Stay well!

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    • Posted

      When I get a flare I usually get twinges and then stabbing pains in my left side that becomes constant over a day or two. I also get cramping that comes and goes and on two occasions it affected my bladder and pelvic floor...the pain was so bad I could hardly walk...also pain radiating down my left leg. Diverticulitis can present in different ways but the pain in the left side is classic.

      Keep an eye on your temp and if you do get worse please see your GP. Hopefully, by limiting your diet as you are doing will help to calm things down.

      It will take trial and error before finding the foods that you can eat. What suits one doesn't always suit another and that seems the nature of DD.

      Keep us posted and I hope you feel much better soon.

      Hugs

      X

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    • Posted

      Thanks, Brannie! My symptoms do sound similar to yours. Mine sometimes present like period ache (though it is a long time since I had that!) I felt alot better today with just slight discomfort but tonight I am very achy and uncomfortable. I will certainly call the doctor if I get a fever. I have not taken any paracetemol for two days but will see how I feel tomorrow and will keep on with very soft food hoping that will help.

      Thanks again! X

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    • Posted

      Yes, the pain I sometimes feel is similar to period pain of sorts until it increases to stabbing and knife-like.

      Be careful that you are not making constipation worse by being on this low fibre diet as the pain might possibly be from constipation. I am no doctor but DD pain can be confused with so many other types of pain from other sources. Diverticulitis pain can come and go as well as being constant so it's possible that you still have some inflammation.

      Bless your heart, I hope you feel better soon, Alison.

      Do keep us posted.

      X

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    • Posted

      I am sure I have inflammation still! How do I prevent constipation while on this soft diet? I am trying to drink more water but keep forgetting!

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    • Posted

      This is a tricky one and I would definitely suggest you have a word with your GP. Constipation could make matters worse, as you know. I continue to take psyllium after 24hours liquid diet and it has never caused problems but what works for me might not work for you.

      I have never been constipated...more the other way!!so psyllium tends to help solidify bowel movements for me. I can say that constipation has not been the cause of my DD!...and this is why I find the medical profession in the UK irritating because they assume I have lived off junk food all my life and suffer with constipation when the opposite is the case with me.

      Maybe your pain is from constipation. Maybe it is from symptomatic DD not involving diverticulitis this time....so going on a low fibre diet would not be the right thing if this were the case.

      I would strongly advise you to have a word with your GP.

      Hugs

      X

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    • Posted

      I just had a thought! This pain couldn't be related to your lower back, could it? Sometimes SI joint or lower lumbar pain can cause pain in the front of the pelvis and the side would depend on where the back problem is. I am not a doctor but going on my own experience.

      X

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    • Posted

      You make a very good point! It was actually I who suggested to my GP last week that maybe I should be on a soft or liquid diet. She then provided a comprehensive list for a low fibre diet. Maybe it is not such a good idea! I am not totally constipated but feel a bit congested when I am experiencing the heavy low pelvic ache.

      I do have a spine fracture but higher up and never have symptoms from that. It was found incidentally when scanning to find cause for LLQ last time. They found so much wrong with me but nothing that explained the LLQ apart from diverticula.

      This pain seems very specific to an area in LLQ. Hurts more when I sit, which puts pressure on it. Last time I had ultrasounds for possible gynae problems but was all clear apart from kidney stones which are very small.

      Thanks so much for your support! I really appreciate it!

      x

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    • Posted

      Even if you go every day you could still be constipated. I would still advise you to go back to your GP about this pain as it sounds as though it could be a number of things. You have had a lot of tests which have ruled out a gynae problem but you have not had any firm diagnosis and continue to have the pain.

      I hope you get to the bottom of this...no pun intended, LOL!

      Please keep us posted.

      X

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